|“||Think on your sins!||„|
|~ Silva's message to M|
|“||What is this if not betrayal? She's sending you off to me knowing you are not ready, knowing you will likely die. Mommy was very bad!||„|
|~ Silva talking to Bond about M|
|“||Do you know what it does to you? Hydrogen cyanide? Look upon your work... Mother.||„|
|~ Silva to M as he reveals his disfigurement|
He is a powerful cyber-terrorist who was once an MI6 agent but was betrayed by M when she turned him over to the Chinese government during a mission in Hong Kong. He then becomes obsessed with publicly discrediting and killing her.
He was portrayed by Javier Bardem, who also played Anton Chigurh in No Country for Old Men, Felix Marti in The Gunman, Felix Reyes Torrena in Collateral, Captain Armando Salazar in Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales, and Him in mother!.
Tiago Rodriguez was once an agent of MI6, working under M when she was the head of Station H, an MI6 division based in Hong Kong, specializing in cyberterrorism. Prior to his work with MI6, not much is known of his early life. During his first meeting with Bond, Rodriguez recounts a story from his childhood: his grandmother owned a small island, which he would frequently visit during the summer. On one such summer, they discovered that the island had become infested with rats that fed off the coconuts the grew there. To deal with them, Rodriguez and his grandmother captured them all into an oil drum, which was then sealed to prevent them from escaping. When the drum was reopened after a prolonged period of time, they discovered that the rats had resorted to cannibalism in order to survive until only two remained; instead of exterminating them, Rodriguez and his grandmother released the surviving two rats, only now they would no longer eat coconut and would only eat rat. Rodriguez uses this story as a metaphor describing what M turned himself and Bond into. In the time leading up to the Handover, Rodriguez began acting beyond his professional duties as an agent, hacking into Chinese Intelligence without authorization. With the Chinese on to him, M turned him over to them in exchange for six other previously captured agents and a peaceful transfer of sovereignty. For the next five months, Rodriguez was brutally tortured for information "in a room with no air", but he refused to divulge any state secrets. Upon learning it was M that gave him up, he tried to commit suicide by biting into a cyanide capsule. Rather than kill him, the cyanide left him disfigured, with a collapsed left cheek and rotting teeth (he would later disguise his disfigurement with a dental prosthetic). Rodriguez blamed M for his misfortune and swore revenge.
Silva has Patrice steal a flash drive the names and locations of several undercover NATO agents and publish this information on the Internet, resulting in the deaths of several of these agents when the terrorist groups they are planted in learn their identities. He then sends M a taunting message before destroying MI6 headquarters at Vauxhall Cross, killing dozens of agents. M orders Bond to find the person responsible, sending him to Shanghai. After killing Patrice, Bond meets with Severine, who agrees to take him to her boss.
Upon travelling to Silva's island (thanks to the Boat Captain), Bond is captured and meets with Silva himself. Silva at first tries to intimidate Bond by making quasi-sexual advances toward him. When that doesn't work, Silva appeals to Bond's resentment of M, who left him for dead during an earlier mission, and offers to bring him into the cyber-terrorism operation. Bond refuses, however, so Silva leads him outside and challenges him to a game of William Tell, using Severine as the target. Bond deliberately misses, after which Silva shoots Severine square in the face, killing her. Using the distress beacon given to him by Q, Bond is able to call for reinforcements and have Silva captured.
However, it turns out that Silva had planned to be captured in order to get to M, and then escapes when a virus from his laptop infects MI6's system as Q attempts to decrypt it. The virus opens all electronically locked doors in the base, including the door to Silva's cell. Escaping into the London Underground, he disguises himself with a police uniform given to him by his men as Bond pursues him. Silva attempts to kill Bond by sending a subway train off its tracks onto him, but Bond survives and continues pursuing him.
Meeting up with more of his men, who are also disguised as policemen, Silva travels to M's public enquiry, where he intends to publicly execute her. Bursting into the courtroom, Silva and his men manage to kill the surrounding policemen and M's bodyguards (sans Bill Tanner), but before he can kill M, Gareth Mallory pushes her out of the way and take Silva's bullet in his shoulder. At the moment, Bond appears, and he, Eve Moneypenny and Mallory provide cover fire and kill Silva's men. Bond then shoots two nearby fire extinguishers, creating a smokescreen that allows him and his allies to escort M to safety.
Tired of Silva being one step ahead of them, Bond devises a plan to lead him into a trap. He has Q set up an electronic trail for Silva to follow, while he drives M to his ancestral home in Scotland, the eponymous Skyfall Lodge. Meeting the estate's gamekeeper, Kincade, the trio prepare for Silva's inevitable attack by setting up various boobytraps around the house. Sure enough, Silva and his men descend upon Skyfall and open fire; M is mortally wounded by a stray shot during the first wave. Silva himself soon arrives with the second wave in a helicopter gunship, laying waste to the lodge before Bond destroys it in a gigantic explosion. He follows M and Kincade into the estate's chapel, where he notices M's wounds. He places a gun into M's hand, presses it towards his temple, presses her head against his and begs her to pull the trigger and free them both. At that moment, however, Bond comes up from behind Silva and throws a knife into his back, killing him. M dies moments later.
Despite his chaotic methods, Silva maintains an air of calm and often handles things with ease - even after Bond killed his men, and being held at gunpoint by the latter, Silva remained completely reserved and even managed to mock him. He was charismatic and very strategic, thinking out all of his plans in full detail and trying not to leave anything to chance, or else was very good at improvising. Silva was also brilliant, able not only to outsmart M but Q and Bond as well, even going so far to use them as part of his plan. Even M, who has always been critical of Bond, described Silva as 'a brilliant agent'. He was also sexually ambiguous; he had a female lover and also made strong overtures toward Bond, though what precisely he meant by it and whether he is actually bisexual is left up for debate.
Though Silva maintained an intensely strong hatred towards M, he is also conflicted about her. He was convinced that he had survived to "look into [her] eyes one last time". During their confrontation in the MI6 cell room where he is held after his initial capture, he grew increasingly more agitated and deranged as she refused to show any remorse or regret for her actions, especially when she refuses to use his real name. When he first encounters Bond, he blames M personally for compelling him towards a path that could easily kill him, quite ignoring his own willingness to do so. He calls her "Mommy" or "Mother" multiple times, and he ultimately cannot bring himself to personally kill her - to the point when he has her at the point of a gun, and can't bring himself to pull the trigger. He does have a sarcastic wit, shown constantly against James Bond during their battle of wits, even using Bond's own words against him.
It has been theorized that Silva had a borderline personality disorder, which is characterized by an intense fear of abandonment, emotional extremes, and an unstable sense of identity. He does show sociopathic behaviour, including a laid-back reaction to dangerous or sadistic situations, a lack of compassion towards even his allies, and above all, he was particularly sadistic towards M - before exploding MI6 he sent a computerized message mocking her, and later taunted her with unleashing names of NATO agents on YouTube to intensify the fact that she had failed.
Raoul Silva is a young, tall and a bit muscular man with long blonde hair and blue eyes; both are probably not natural. He wears a prosthetic upper jaw to conceal the damage done by the failed cyanide capsule; without it, his left cheek collapses, causing his lower eyelid to droop as well, and he is left with only a few stubs of teeth which are grey with decay (see below).
In his first appearance, he wears a cream jacket, a Prada tile print dress shirt, brown waistcoat and trousers, and brown shoes. After escaping his cell at MI6, he disguises himself as a Metropolitan police officer. In the final showdown at Skyfall, he wears all black: turtleneck, trenchcoat, trousers, and combat boots. His weapons of choice include explosives, a Glock 13, a Steyr M9-A1 (during the Skyfall assault), a helicopter gunship, a subway train, and antique flintlock duelling pistols (used to kill his lover Sévérine in a "William Tell" game he forces Bond to participate in).
Upon the film's release, Javier Bardem received enormous widespread critical acclaim from both film critics and both audiences, whom amazingly praised Bardem's performance and his acting form and commented that Silva was "a classic, menacing and cool Bond villain", also many Bond fans worldwide had compared Silva to the Joker from the DC Comics universe, especially that of the late Heath Ledger version, because of the reason that Silva was a ruthless, psychopathic and megalomaniacal terrorist.
- Silva is similar to several other Bond Villains:
- Alec Trevelyan from 1995's Goldeneye. Both are ex-agents who had once served for MI6 and had close personal relationships with one of their co-workers (Bond for Trevelyan/M for Silva). Because of this, both are seen as "Anti-Bonds". Both seek justice for a betrayal done by MI6 (MI6 handing the Trevelyans and the Lienz Cossacks back to the Russians/MI6 for trading Silva over to the Chinese in order to free six captive agents). After leaving MI6 both start their own criminal rings, and major components of their plans involve great use of computer hacking. Both also received massive damage to their faces (Part of Trevelyan's face being burned by the explosion in the Soviet chemical plant in the opening of Goldeneye/Massive burning damage was done to Silva's face during a failed attempt at using a suicide cyanide pill that forces him to wear a brace in his mouth).
- Francisco Scaramanga from 1974's The Man With the Golden Gun. Both have some form of Hispanic heritage, and are presented as being Bond's equal. Both feel they share a certain special connection with James because they find themselves to be two of a kind. (Scaramanga highlighting how, "We are the best" in their murderous field/Silva about how M made them the "two survivors". Their connections to M also binding them on a kind of emotional level). Both also are at times seen acting with a deal of eccentricity (and at times even sort of giddiness), particularly in their interactions with Bond. Both also have island lairs near China, and have a woman in their service (Andrea Anders/Sévérine) who is fearful of them and come to have hopes that Bond can kill their employers only to have Scaramanga and Silva eventually shoot and kill them personally.
- Elektra King/Renard from 1999's The World Is Not Enough. Both are motivated by some wrong that M had committed against them in the past and intended to kill her. In both cases, M took the option most dictated by duty rather than compassion or loyalty. Both Elektra/Renard and Silva remotely set off explosions in the Vauxhall Building, the official headquarters of MI6. Elektra is particularly resentful of her father, who had consulted with M when Elektra had been kidnapped years before (M advised her father not to pay the ransom asked for, as it would be "negotiating with terrorists"). Silva sees M herself as a mother figure.
- Silva's fake teeth might be a reference to the legendary Bond henchman, Jaws.
- Silva's appearance may have been based on Wikileaks founder Julian Assange.
- The whiskey Silva pours out for Bond is a 50-year-old MacAllan, a reference to the fact that Skyfall was the 50th anniversary film.
- Despite being the main antagonist, Silva doesn't appear onscreen until halfway through the movie.
- Silva's island was based on the real-life Japanese island of Hashima; Silva faked a leak at the island's chemical plant to cause the inhabitants to abandon it, based on the real chemical leak that caused the evacuation of the real island.
- The fallen statue on Silva's island is a reference to Percy Bysshe Shelley's sonnet "Ozymandius", which is about time and entropy making a mockery of once-mighty empires. The poem M quotes from at her hearing right before Silva storms in is Alfred Lord Tennyson's "Ulysses", which is about tenacity and striving forward even in the face of such decline.
- Originally, the German actor Michael Pink was supposed to play the role until Bardem got it. Still Pink is seen as a henchman in the battle scene at the end.
- He is the only main villain in the Bond reboot continuity to have onscreen kills.
- Silva is the first Bond villain to not have an operations base being destroyed.
- Daniel Craig bonded with Javier Bardem on the set over their shared love of rugby. In his youth, Craig played for Hoylake Rugby Football Club in Wirral, Merseyside. Bardem played for Club de Rugby Liceo Francés in Madrid, and even made the Spanish national team at underage level.
- He is also the only villain in the reboot continuity to be killed by Bond.
- His YouTube name "Vials" is an anagram of his new surname "Silva."
- Silva is ironically the first Bond villain to actually succeed in his goals, namely in humiliating MI6 and killing M as revenge for abandoning him (although the latter is a posthumous victory as Bond kills him before M succumbs to her injuries).
- There have been some theories speculating that the reason Silva survived biting down on his cyanide tooth was actually because there wasn't actually cyanide in it. As Silva stated while he was being imprisoned by MI6, the tooth was supposed to contain hydrogen cyanide, which, when ingested, is supposed to target internal organs that are most vulnerable to oxygen instead of the bones and muscles of the face. This could mean that the cyanide in Silva's tooth could have been replaced with another slightly less lethal and more corrosive substance, such as sulfuric acid, and could also provide another reason for why Silva hated M so much, holding her responsible for denying him a quick death and instead of prolonging his suffering.
- His first name, Raoul, is never mentioned in the film, with characters referring him to and the credits listing him as "Silva".